WASHINGTON, April. 16, 2011.-The U.S. Northern Command announced it is sending 30 Air Force reservists and two Hercules C-130 aircraft with a modular fire to help extinguish the fire that has affected the northern part of Mexico for a month now.
Mexico has requested the support of Canada and the United States to extinguish the fire on several fronts that has burned more than 75,000 hectares of scrub and woodland in the northern state of Coahuila, about 100 kilometers south of the border with Texas.
C-130 aircraft equipped with Modular System for Fire Fighting (MAFFS,) belong to the army air base 302 of the Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, USA.
The MAFFS is a pressure tank with a capacity of 13,000 liters, which can release retardant chemicals in less than five seconds through two tubes in the back of the plane.
"We are honored to help our friends in the south and our equipment and specially trained MAFFS C-130 will join the fire fighting to give critical support to the airline needs," said Colonel Jay Pittman, squadron commander Air 302.
The military were ordered MAFFS alert on Friday morning and have coordinated crews and equipment within 24 hours, Northern Command said in a statement.
"The air squadron 302 is formed by highly qualified experts and this is a testament to our ability to be ready to respond at any time," said Pittman.
This is not the first time participating in an international mission since December 2010, some 50 Air Force reservists were mobilized to help in the task of extinguishing forest fires in Israel.
The flames started in Mexico on 16 March in the north of the country and are still largely out of control, despite the efforts of a thousand brigades and Mexican Army personnel have been mobilized in the area.
97 percent of the burned area, which is distributed by the municipalities of Acuña, Arteaga, Muzquiz and Ocampo, near the U.S. border, is desert scrub and the remaining 3 percent are mature trees, according to the Ministry of Environment Mexico.